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Blazer Boutique provides free dresses for Addison girls

ADDISON – It's not every day you see girls walking down the halls of school wearing their best formal dresses. At least, when it isn't prom night.

About 150 dresses have been donated thus far to Addison Trail High School students through its Blazer Boutique, a project organized by teacher Sheri D'Ambrose.

The dresses are ones people have worn once, or items they've kept stored in a basement or attic – like bridesmaid gowns.

But the thing that's different about this drive is it's not just for prom.

"The girls get to have them free," said Patsy Klein, D'Ambrose's mother, who has volunteered at the boutique she calls "The Dress Store."

"If they don't want them after they wear them, they can wear them for senior breakfast," Klein said. "If they have a big family party or wedding, they can have a dress."

The dresses also have been used in school plays.

Groups of girls recently modeled dresses from the Blazer Boutique in an effort to spread awareness about the project. They strolled through Addison Trail during the lunch hours on May 2, smiling in their long, colorful and sparkly gowns.

"Some girls might feel funny going into a used dress store," Klein said. "But they'll see how beautiful these are."

There may be appointments set up in the future, but for now, students and parents can contact the school if they are interested in a dress or want to donate one. Dresses also are gladly accepted by community members.

Klein said seeing the look on some of the girls' faces is worth the volunteer time she spends in the room with a needle and thread. She recalled one in particular who became emotional after she found her perfect dress.

"I still pictured her face, she was crying when she came out," Klein said.

For more information, call Addison Trail High School at 630-628-3300.

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